Global e-pharmacy market size is anticipated to witness unprecedented growth over 2022-2028 owing to rising platform awareness and internet penetration in developing countries. Cold and flu medicine, skin and personal care products, weight loss supplements, vitamins and other over-the-counter (OTC) options are some prominently bought products online. Health supplements and nutraceuticals have gained traction worldwide, with online pharmacies making them easily accessible. Today, even prescription drugs can be obtained through e pharmacies with proper authentication.
Most OTC products are consumed during primary treatment of common ailments, with several generic and branded products available for each type of health condition. Majority of these are safe to take without professional guidance, due to common knowledge. The trend for self-medication has fueled e-pharmacy market trends to a great extent, bolstering over the counter sales worldwide via fast-delivering online platforms.
Some of the commonly bought OTC product segments online include oral analgesics, anti-perspirants, laxatives, first-aid, eye care and skin care, foot care, feminine hygiene, ear drops, hair growth, among many others. Stock availability and competitive pricing have driven customers towards online shopping. It is estimated that global e-pharmacy industry share from OTC product segment will expand at a significant 16.1% CAGR through 2028.
Usually, the purchase of prescription medicine online is risky, as those platforms need to be legally registered as pharmacies to sell them. Further, medicines must always be consumed with proper supervision and advice of medical professionals that consult or treat the user. An e-pharmacy platform must receive a valid prescription before dispensing the drug. Both, a paper prescription or an e-prescription from a healthcare professional can be used.
Today, telehealth services have advanced considerably, with all kinds of medical expertise available online and drugs prescribed as and when needed. Online pharmacies have evolved to accommodate the rapidly enhancing remote healthcare ecosystem. Medicines can be sourced safely today with numerous platforms accepting legally valid prescriptions. E-pharmacies demand and acceptance has picked up pace over the past few years across developing nations owing to the increasing convenience they offer.
Latin America e-pharmacy market size had reach USD 5 billion during 2021, with considerable product demand and a vast existing market for OTC products. Better access to internet has allowed improved awareness and accessibility to online healthcare platforms. The internet penetration in countries like Brazil and Argentina grew substantially in recent years. Government support for digital health and online pharmacies is also expanding.
For instance, the government of Argentina is building a national digital data network to strengthen the country’s healthcare system. The network would help provide easier access to patient data for medical professionals as well as aim to enable the provision of better telehealth services. In addition, it had taken steps to implement a national digital prescription standard for allowing doctors to prescribe medicines and sharing them with pharmacies. The prospects certainly look positive for e-pharmacy industry in the LATAM region.